The Presence Of Strange Males’ Odor Induces Behavioral Responses And Elevated Levels Of Low Molecular Weight Proteins Excreted In The Urine Of Mature Water Vole Males (Arvicola amphibius L)
We hypothesized that low molecular weight urinary proteins play a role in male-male chemical communication in the water vole, Arvicola ampibius L. We studied the effect of placing soiled litter from strange males into the cage of another sexually mature male on the intensity of its digging and scattering, urination on the litter, and alteration in the levels of low molecular weight proteins (15–25 kDa) excreted in the urine before and after 4 days of exposure as determined by chip electrophoresis. The intensity of digging and scattering was positively correlated with levels of testosterone in serum of males exposed to strange male odors (r = 0.56; P < 0.01), as well as with the concentration of low molecular weight proteins in the donor’s urine (r = 0.52, P < 0.05). At the end of the experiment, the level of low molecular weight protein in excreted urine was elevated in the males exposed to the strange male’s litter. These results highlight the importance of quantitative inter-individual variation of low molecular weight urinary proteins in the modulation of the physiology and behavior of conspecifics.
KeywordsArvicola amphibius Urine-marking behavior Chemical communication Testosterone Urine Protein
The authors express their gratitude for the guidance and equipment provided by employees of the Laboratory of Insect Pathology ISEA SB RAS: Victor Glupov, Ekaterina Grizanova, Ivan Dubovsky. Thanks to two anonymous reviewers for comments and contributions that greatly improved this work. The study was performed under the Program of Fundamental Scientific Research in State Academy of Sciences in 2013-2020 (№ VI.51.1.6).
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